Red Rose

the beautiful rose petals have long since withered away, and i am now left with a stem, and a thorn in my side. how i had overlooked the danger, blinded by the evident, but temporary beauty and happiness the of red. each day a realized it was not lasting, things were changing; the rose would darken, the petals would fall and beauty was giving way, quite rapidly to sadness.
time spent with you, something i used to love, and admire, was turning into something unrecognizable and dark. i had a choice to make: should i hold onto to something and continue reminisce about its beauty, or should i throw it away and move on? but then i came to my senses and thought: there is no point in keeping what has obviously dried up, and now lacks beauty. every time i see you, you bring and add sorrow and pain to my life; sorrow i never ever thought would be possible from a beautiful red rose fading, and pain from the realization that things will and can never go back to how they used to be.

Wanting More

Perhaps there are some things I am taking for granted. But I still fail to see what’s so special about this country I am living in.

Canada isn’t bad, but it’s not that great either. It’s whatever to me.

I want more from my country. I don’t feel Canadian. I want to feel Canadian, I really do.

But I wasn’t raised Canadian. I was raised in Canada. But not as a Canadian.

(On a side note, I’ve never understood how immigrants try and learn Canadian culture when they come here. I feel that when they come here and try and learn to be Canadian, they’re really learning the acceptable way of living in the west. They’re learning western ideals. Their idea of beauty changes, their way of thinking, and even doing.)

So because of my detachment, I find myself comparing other countries to live in,

and concluding that Canada is peaceful & boring.

It’s a wannabe Britain

Like a student who pays utmost attention in class and desperately tries to please the teacher

And a less rowdy America

Like that same student, that is surrounded by other distracting students, and notices that her neighbour would rather not listen to or pay attention to the teacher but rebel. Our once focused student unfortunately, ends up losing her attention span, and joining in with her other peer.

Your background, where you or your parents are from will sometimes influences how you see the current country you live in.

For example…My Afghan coworker loves Canada, she thinks she has more freedom here, and appreciates the peacefulness.

Freedom and peacefulness, I personally take for granted. I’ve never had either threatened in the same way…

And how would I? Look where my parent’s are from. They’re not from some kind of suppressive or communist regime.

Sure life would have been more rough if I were born where my parent’s were and not here.

I am not blind, I see for myself what kind of life I could have been living.

But even then. I don’t appreciate Canada the way I should.

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Caribbean Restaurants vs Jamaican Restaurants

Please note, before reading this, that this post is based off the observations I’ve made in my region, which is the Greater Toronto Area, in Canada. It just may happen that some, all, or maybe none of what I am saying, may apply to where you are. I am not writing my observations as if they are set in stone rules that are supposed to apply to all Caribbean restaurants everywhere, I am not.

Im more likely to eat from a “West-Indian” restaurant than a “Caribbean” restaurant…

I buy my groceries from a “West-Indian” store, not a “Caribbean” store.

There is a Caribbean restaurant on the campus of my school. It is popular, as it is one of the few places on campus you can get a home cooked meal at a reasonable price that is also rammed with flavour. It is also one of the few places that is “ethnic” in origin. So last week when a friend of mine invited me to try some food from there, I of course said yes. She reassured that “Dude, if you’re Jamaican, you’ll love their food.” Glancing over the menu, I recognized a few familiar dishes…Jerk Chicken, Ackee and Saltfish, and Mannish Water. (Kidding, I didn’t see Mannish Water.)

That experience, (along with many others) has led to me conclude something about the title “Caribbean Restaurant, ” when used to classify, and businesses that use the term “Caribbean” in their restaurant names. “Caribbean,” is merely an umbrella term that seeks to categorize foods from some, but not all, islands. Islands, that have notable differences, that are not homogenous in language, race, religion, and especially not food…This is not to say that you don’t have some similarities between some islands, but it is the similarities between some islands, that these “Caribbean” restaurants focus on, or they focus on one particular country’s dishes more so than others, more so than their own…

Taking the restaurant at my school as an example, the people running and cooking the food are from Grenada. However, I found that there were many more traditional dishes specific to Jamaica than anything else on the menu. Jamaica is a part of the Caribbean. Jamaica is not the only island in the Caribbean. So to say you offer “Caribbean” food but a large percent of your menu only really consists of Jamaican dishes, that is odd. As a “Caribbean” restaurant, shouldn’t the focus be on dishes from a range of islands, not just one or two? Unless you’ve specified somewhere the style of cooking you will be doing, or where you and the chefs are from, so guests can know what to expect?

It is for this reason, that if you’re looking to enjoy authentic Jamaican food, you should stay clear of any that are named “Caribbean Queen” but don’t really say the kind of food they cook. Caribbean food technically can be Latin American style of cooking from the island of Cuba, or it can be West Indian from the island of Trinidad. “Caribbean,” as mentioned before, is an umbrella term that ignores difference. Restaurants owned and operated by Jamaican’s are more likely to have their country name incorporated into the restaurants name, have a flag in the window, or have some manifest way of letting you know it’s a Jamaican operation.

One obvious reason for incorporating “Jamaica” into the mix is no doubt because they want people to make a connection between the island, the people hailing from the island who have achieved global recognition, and their food operation. I really only need to mention one Jamaican here, which still influences people of all generations and has influenced a strong youth culture posthumously: Bob Marley. Perhaps if music isn’t your thing, surely you’ve heard of the “Fastest Man in the World” Usain Bolt, or have heard of Marcus Garvey, if you’re into black history. When people see the names of these people, one of the first few series of words that come to mind is “Jamaica” or “Jamaican,” which is why restaurants owned and operated want the word Jamaican, or Jamaican flag in plain view.

Interestingly enough, I’ve run across so many “Jamaican” restaurants, such as Albert’s Real Jamaican , but hardly any restaurants that cater to the dishes of specific countries, such as (and I’m making this up of course) Mama’s Grenadian Kitchen, Guadeloupe Flavour, Curacao Fusion. It seems like countries that are not as well known, rely on the term “Caribbean” to bring an image into the minds of people. Because let’s face it, unless you have a good sense of geography, how else would you know that the countries listed above, are in the Caribbean? And furthermore, are you familiar enough with the culture pertaining to those countries?

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